Many drivers have fond memories of Datsun cars from the 1970s and 80s, and their modern-day values are testament to the brand's endearing simplicity and fun.
Whether the newest Datsun--seen here in official sketches and due to be revealed in India on July 15th--will continue those traits is anyone's guess, but unfortunately, Datsun may not be U.S.-bound this time around.
Nissan revealed it would revive the Datsun brand in March last year, with an eye on producing low-cost vehicles for developing markets.
Think simple, fuss-free transport in markets where such a thing normally means a lowest common denominator vehicle and you won't be far off. It's closest in spirit to the budget offshoot of Nissan's partner Renault, the Romanian Dacia brand. Dacia has made a killing in Europe and Russia, selling simple cars based on well-proven Renault mechanicals for prices well below that of more mainstream equivalents.
The first new Datsun model looks like using a similar formula.
The sketches show a car of minicar to subcompact size, with a modern design not unlike that of a Mazda or Subaru. According to Autocar, the Datsun will use a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine and some suspension components from the current generation Nissan Micra subcompact, with some components from the previous generation.
Nissan says both the new car and future Datsuns will offer "an engaging driving experience", with no compromise in accessibility, reliability and durability.
New Datsun subcompact unveiled in India on July 15
It's the price that'll really sell the new Datsuns, however. Autocar reports the first car will cost just $5,300 when it goes on sale in 2014, on par with some of the country's cheapest vehicles.
U.S.-bound it may not be, but with pricing like that Datsun could easily create a whole new point of entry to the U.S. new car market--and perhaps generate the sort of buzz it did back in the 1970s, too.